My apologies up front for not taking pictures in Fort Scott. There are several mansions that are now B&Bs. They have Victorian features but are built of brick, of course.
After the hotel breakfast I made my way south in search of a new bike lock. I tried to give my business to two hardware stores but their wares were inadequate. I ended up in WalMart and succeeded in a scoring a lame cable lock and some thin lube, Finish Line 2 in 1, which supposedly allows you to skip the chain cleaning step.
I put the lube on the moving parts of my front detailer and on the cable where it passes through the underside of the bottom bracket, the lowest point on the frame. I also tweaked the barrel adjuster on the cable to tighten it. I had one delayed shift to my granny gear all day. I’ll call that a success.
I rode south on a highway out of town into a 10 to 20 mph headwind. I decided to stop looking at my speedometer and just focus on constant effort.
Most of the drivers gave me plenty of room but as the day wore on the drivers’ patience wore thin. Oddly the only cars that honked were approaching not following.
After 20 miles of head winds I turned west to enjoy 34 miles of sidewinds. Having four panniers on my bike made the turn west a dubious improvement. The panniers act as sails forcing me to leave plenty of space between me and the non-existent shoulder.
I was now on US Bike Route 76, which a bit further on became the TransAmerica Trail.
I stopped at a Lutheran church that shelters bike tourists. I used the restroom, refilled my water bottles, and made off with some munchies. (Yes, brother Joe, I took some crunchy Cheetos.)
On this two-lane, 60 mph road I noticed a turtle making its way across the eastbound lane. I saw a car coming eastbound so I turned across the road and waved at the car to move over so as to avoid the turtle. The car slowed and, with the passenger side window down, the driver cursed at me. It was a kid who was apparently challenged by seeing an obstruction in an arrow-straight road in broad daylight. I didn’t react. I think the turtle made his escape.
About a minute later I was back on the right hand side of the road when a minivan pulled up beside me. It’s passenger side window was open and I could hear the driver raging at me. Just completely out of control. I didn’t look at him because I wanted to avoid his car which was very close to my left side.
He yelled that his kid was 14 years old and could have crashed because of me.
He may be a crappy driver but at least he’s got the road rage thing down just like dear old dad. Mom was in the shotgun seat giving me the business too. I didn’t react. As they drove off Mom asked me why I swerved. “To save a turtle’s life.”
I may be mistaken but I doubt this was a family of Buddhists.
They turned around in the next driveway and roared past me. I waved. All fingers.
These back to back road rage incidents were only the fourth and fifth of my tours. I could go on about how inane it was. As I rode on it occurred to me that I was lucky they didn’t pull an Easy Rider on me.
A few miles later I rolled into Walnut where the local police had given me permission to camp in the town park. I stopped in the town convenience store and had lunch. A bologna sandwich on wheat with potato chips flavored with Argentinian spices, washed down with a Gatorade. Fine dining.
The store clerk told me that the town of Erie had restaurants and a park with camping so I lit out 9 more miles. Erie is two miles south of my route which meant two more miles of headwinds. I found a camp site conveniently near an empty RV slip where I could use a water pump and recharge my phone. All the comforts of home!
Despite the winds I pitched the tent without much difficulty. After washing up I headed to Main Street for vittles and grog. (Craft beer here is Natty Boh. I resisted the urge to ask for a Gansett.)
Tomorrow promises more strong southerly winds. I’m heading north for at least seven miles so I’m feeling the joy already. I’m looking forward to seeing bike tourists along the road.
Todays mileage: 48. Tour mileage: 525.5